Saturday, March 31, 2012

Another piece of writing

“Zephros?” Groaned the wizard into the muck.
“Would you mind getting off me or shifting your pommel out of my back?”
“Sure, sorry. One thing though, Mikel?” Said the mercenary as he rolled off his companion and sat up.
“You could have warned me there was a company of soldiers in the tavern. Drunk soldiers.”
Mikel lifted himself into a sitting position and examined the mud stains on his tunic and leather armor. “Well,” he began. “would you have gone in there if I had?”
“Not really, no.”
“Well then, there you go.”
Zephros thought for a moment and sighed. He stood, straightened his scale mail and stalked back to the tavern doors. “Yeah, you’re right.”
I wrote this at random the other night and would love to expand it, but I have this errant thought buried in my head that I'm unintentionally ripping off Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser series. I think it's because the story has two male characters and has a sword and sorcery setting. I've never read the series, so I can't possibly be ripping it off, but the thought remains.

Welp, time to get to writing.

New header

Lovely King Kull art by the late John Severin and his wife, Marie. Here's the original:

I might mess around with the text later and try and make it more visible while not distracting from the prettiness of the artwork. We lost a true artist last month.

Hat tip to The Glass Walking-Stick for the picture.

In which Helm brings the hurt to this guy

Awesome picture, but I have a question to whoever or whatever Helm is fighting: How is it that you have six arms - each bearing a weapon - and yet, still getting your ass handed to you?

Helm, of course, was the God of protection, protectors, and guardians in Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Emphasis on was. Unfortunately, Wizards of the Coast killed him off back in 2007 for some godforsaken reason. In the fluff, he was killed off because another god, Tyr, thought Helm was trying to steal his woman. Of course, he wasn't and the move invoked such a negative reaction in the fandom, that Tyr was later killed off after handing his godhood over to Torm. No wonder people loath 4th Edition.

Picture via Forgotten Realms Wiki.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Currently reading: The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison

I'm still reading Garden of the Moon, but I suddenly had a taste for old school fantasy and couldn't resist this book's siren call. I picked it up a few weeks ago at an indoor yard sale. I think my future fantasy book purchases are going to center on OSF, like Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and The Gray Mouser series and more Conan. I'll keep reading Garden of the Moon and jump between the two when I feel like it.

(Picture via Moonbase Central)

Meet Heikki Holmås, Norwegian government minister and D&D nerd

Just one more step in nerdkind's eventual and inevitable total domination of the planet. Granted, we pretty much run everything already, but a little world conquest never hurt anyone. ;)

(h/t Geek Flag)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Here's a picture I thieved from Beyond the Black Gate

He really needs to work on his spot checks or invest in better dice.

The party don't start till I walk in...
and then it usually ends in a bar fight
and no less than five stabbings.
Joking aside, I really dig this and any picture that depicts Conan wearing more than just a loin cloth and boots. Unfortunately, he's depicted in the latter so often that it's become his de facto look, which is a shame.

(h/t Beyond the Black Gate)

The Pile: Interesting blog posts

I might make this a regular thing, who knows.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here's a piece from a story I'm working on

It's currently untitled and is the one I mentioned earlier.


    Later, after everyone was fed and bedded in the barn, Charles found Adrian sitting on a log, chewing on a twig. Sitting down next to him, the former looked off into the distance.

    "You were supposed to be dead, but I guess word of your demise was exaggerated. That, or a miracle has occurred."

    "That's what everyone was supposed to think," Adrian responded. "me being dead, that is."

    "Most men would deck their best friend for deceiving them like that."

    "Take your best swing then, I wouldn't blame you."

    There was a long silence before the older man spoke again. "Why, though? Why did you throw it all away and leave?"

    It was Adrian's turn to be silent before standing up with a sigh. "Honestly? I couldn't handle it, that life. The political games, shifting alliances, the daggers hidden in every shadow just waiting to sink themselves into my back. Then there was the corruption, always persistent and like an impregnable fortress. No, I just couldn't take it any longer and left and do you want to know another truth? It was the best decision I ever made."

    The response from his friend was unexpected - laughter. Adrian looked down and raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Did I say something funny?"

    "No, I forgot that you were always the most eloquent soldier I ever met. You could talk the edge off a sword."

    "And the bloomers off any maiden in a five mile radius." Adrian laughed, followed by Charles. After it subsided, the former turned serious.

    "Has Stephen really gotten as bad as you say? It's hard to believe that he would try to have killed."

    "Believe it." Charles sighed. "Our 'mighty' Lord Protector has become a stone in the fortress of corruption and my blood wouldn't be discernible to the rest of the blood already on his hands, I'm afraid."

    "What do you mean?"

    "Two weeks ago, there was revolt in the lower quarter of Bonham and he crushed it. Brutally. He had the entire quarter cordoned off and brought in artillery with the new incendiary shells." Charles paused, a weary look on his face. Adrian was aghast, but motioned for him to continue.

    "The fires burned for days, he wouldn't let the army or fire service put them out unless the flames moved out of the quarter. I was away at the time and by the time I returned, the inferno had been going for three days. I tried to talk sense into Stephen, but he refused to listen and so, I acted and doomed myself and my men in the process."

    "How so?"

    "I rounded up the Royal Guard and broke the cordon myself. We and a group of soldiers and civilians went in and put the fires out and rescued survivors. There weren't many and some of the worst off died later on."

    "And Stephen would order your death for defying him like that? It seems so inconceivable."

    "Oh, it's quite conceivable." Charles returned to the log and sat down, resting his arms on his legs and bowing his head for a moment before raising it and look at the other man. "Stephen has changed in ways that would shock you, my friend. But no, I don't think he ordered my death solely because of my actions that day. No, I believe he had planned it beforehand and merely used my insubordination as a justification to move against me. Only forewarning by one of his servants saved me and my men from the noose or axe."

    "Speaking of which, where are they all? Unless he severely downsized the Guard, there should be more than ten."

    "Some died resisting the new Guard when they tried to arrest them. Most escaped and I sent them into hiding until I could figure out what to do. The nine with me volunteered to act as my entourage."

    Charles finished talking and both men stood silently for a while, lost in their thoughts. Adrian was dumbfounded about the change that had taken hold in the Lord Protector.


Obviously this is just an rough draft, it'll get better as I revise it. My weakest point is character interaction. I can write fairly decent dialogue, but not so much on the interaction front.

Feel free to share thoughts, criticism, and suggestions in the comments.

The Fellowship was a horribly unbalanced party.

So last night this happened on Tumblr. I reblogged a gif earlier that night of the scene from Return of the King, the one where Aragorn leads an army to Mordor to distract Sauron while Frodo snuck into Mount Doom. Specifically, it was of him shouting "For Frodo!" and charging Sauron's army. Somehow, this lead to me making a joke comparing The Lord of the Rings to a game of D&D and the Fellowship itself to a poorly balanced party. My argument was that the group had way too many fighters (Gimli, Legolas, Boromir (originally forgot about him) and the hobbits) and only one spellcaster. Aragorn was clearly multiclassing with levels in both fighter and ranger, although one person thought that he had a some points in paladin as well. I ended up conceding that Legolas was probably multiclassing as a ranger too. A consensus was also reached that at least two of the hobbits - Merry and Pippin) were low level rogues, while Frodo was an NPC. Sam was either a rogue or a bard.

What flabbergasts me though is the lack of a cleric or some other healer class. I'm sure Boromir would have appreciated having one around, although I don't think they would have been able to heal his douchebaggery. Also, whoever was DMing that game just really, really sucked. He threw how many monsters and creatures at the Fellowship and only managed to kill one of them? On top of that, he didn't dish out any loot. Given the number of the above they killed throughout the trilogy, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli alone should have been rolling in it.

I know I'm not the first person to do this, I would be dismayed if I was. Fun times.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Your fighter's dead, Jim.

Spock is a emotionless, purely logical DM and puts the fear of god into other DMs. I just wonder what everyone else's character classes would be? McCoy would be a cleric or some kind of healer. Scotty is tougher to place, because I don't think D&D has an engineer class. The closest would be an artificer. There was a civilization in Forgotten Realms based around technology, called Lantan, but it was destroyed during the advent of 4th Edition rules. I think Uhura would be a bard and I have no idea what Chekov would be.

Picture via A Rust Monster Ate My Sword.

Monday, March 19, 2012

So I finally started writing again

And goddamn does it ever feel good. I don't really know why, but yesterday I went through my story folder, opened one I had started writing probably five years ago and just started typing away. There was only about three paragraphs from the last time, but I managed to more than double it. I didn't write any today, because I didn't feel in the mood, but I am tomorrow and hopefully through the rest of the week.

As for the story itself, it's fantasy, originally a medieval-ish one, but I'm shifting it to either late middle ages or early modern (15-16th centuries). The plot, as I have it now, involves a retired soldier leading a rebellion against power hungry Lord Protector who has eyes on the abolished throne. This soldier has a secret that is revealed several chapters in and is a nice little reference to a historical theory.

I think the impetus for this came from viewing some miniature wargaming blogs, a hobby I've taken increasing interest in. I can't remember which, but there's a few with a focus on the aforementioned time periods that will serve as the setting for my story. If I finish or otherwise accomplish what I want with it, I may move on and write other stories. Hell, maybe I'll have several going concurrently in order to keep the writing juices flowing. I certainly wouldn't mind doing one with an 19th century setting or one with an ancient warfare flavor.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Lord Voldemort is basically a Lich

Note: This is a cross-post from my other blog, Giant-Size Nerd-Thing!.
Did he turn his nose into a horcrux too?
I had this realization late last night. If you think about Voldemort and his plan to achieve immortality, then he's really no different than a Lich from Dungeons & Dragons or Greyhawk. For the uninitiated, a Lich is a spellcaster who attempts to become immortal by creating an object called a phylactery and placing his soul into it. That sounds a lot like Lord Voldemort's horcruxes from Harry Potter, doesn't? Another similarity is that the phylactery must be hidden and protected, because if it's ever destroyed, then the Lich can then be killed permanently.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Picture inspiration: Peltast

What's a peltast, you ask?
This is a peltast. They were light infantry used in Ancient Greece and if this picture is even partially accurate to their appearance, looked cool. As you can see, they were armed with javelins and were obviously not meant to go toe-to-toe with the more heavily armored hoplites that the city-states employed in their war making. Instead, they took position at the flanks of their army and chucked their javelins at the opposing forces. When those aforementioned forces came at them, they promptly ran like a bat out of hell until they were safe. One advantage peltasts possessed over hoplites is that they could run faster and over rougher terrain than their armored foes. They weren't cowards, however, as they could be used against other light infantry.

I like this picture and the peltasts themselves. They lacked armor, but were important enough to be used in the hundreds. I could see a story where the main character is a peltast on a campaign and has to survive hoplites, cavalry, other light infantry, even Persians. I also believe that the time period is another untapped vein for fantasy fiction, much like the early modern and modern periods. I know David Gemmell did a trilogy (well, more like 1/3 of one) before he died about the Trojan War, and Ben Bova wrote a novel about a Hittite warrior. There's probably some more that I'm unaware of, but much like Jello, there's always room for more!

Picture via Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

That probably isn't going to end well

Saw this over at mortellan's Greyhawkery and thought it was neat. The picture is from the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Compendium, I'm guessing one of the early ones. That big ugly brute about to turn the fighter into a chunky mess is a Yeti. The D&D version of a Yeti. Wow.

Protip: When going after a Yeti in D&D, bring some archers...and maybe some cannons. Yeah, definitely some cannons.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Books in my sights: Sasha by Joel Shepherd

I've been wanting this book since I first saw it on a shelf at Barnes and Noble. I never bought it because I usually had my sights set on other books or I would just forget. The latter happened the last time I paid a visit to a big book store. I'll get it next time for sure. Why do I want Sasha? I'll let the synopsis answer:
Spurning her royal heritage to be raised by the great warrior, Kessligh, her exquisite swordplay astonishes all who witness it. But Sasha is still young, untested in battle and often led by her rash temper. In the complex world of Lenayin loyalties, her defiant wilfulness is attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Lenayin is a land almost divided by its two faiths: the Verenthane of the ruling classes and the pagan Goeren-yai, amongst whom Sasha now lives. The Goeren-yai worship swordplay and honour and begin to see Sasha as the great spirit—the Synnich—who will unite them. But Sasha is still searching for what she believes and must choose her side carefully.

When the Udalyn people—the symbol of Goeren-yai pride and courage—are attacked, Sasha will face her moment of testing. How will she act? Is she ready to lead? Can she be the saviour they need her to be?
I've developed a liking of strong female characters in fantasy ever since I started reading A Game of Thrones and The Deed of Paksenarrion, so Sasha would fit in well with that. Plus, it's just nice to know that there are female characters in fantasy that aren't Mary Sues for their authors hidden necrophilia and zoophilia*.

Picture via Pyr.

*Sorry folks, but if you fuck a vampire (a member of the undead), it's necrophilia, no matter how pretty he might be. Likewise, banging a werewolf is bestiality, you know, because of the fact that they're a wolf.


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